The Prompt: At a garage sale, your character buys an antique urn which she thinks will look nice decorating her bookcase. But when she gets home, she realizes there are someone’s ashes in it….
I felt something rattle in the urn as I placed it on my bookcase. I took it back off the shelf and opened the lid. Inside was a canister and I immediately knew what it was. I carefully pulled the canister out. On the end was engraved: “PFC William Reynolds, 1950-1969”
I immediately put the canister back into the urn. I marched back to the garage sale at the house around the corner from me. The man and woman running the sale were starting to pack up.
The woman glanced up at me and seeing the urn cradled in my arm, she said “All sales final.”
“But there are ashes in here. This is someone’s funeral urn.”
The man waddled up. “You don’t say. That must be Billy’s ashes.”
“Miz Reynold’s boy, only son, killed in ‘Nam. Kept that urn on her mantle till the day she died.”
“So, she’s gone.”
“Wouldn’t her relatives want this?”
“What relatives? If we could find any, we wouldn’t be doing all this work,” said the woman.
“Yeah, took forever to get all the court stuff straightened out so we could start cleaning out her place for the next tenant. Anything not sold today is going in the trash.”
I looked down at the urn.
“Uh… if you want, we’ll take care of that for you, ” said the man nodding at the urn.
“No… like you said, ‘all sales final.’
“Suit yourself,” he said as he pitched a couple of framed photographs in a dumpster.
I walked home. When I got there, I dusted off the center shelf of my bookcase and polished the outside of the urn. I placed in the shelf and stepped back.
“Thank you for your service, Billy.”
ljg (c) 2013